Dress Your Best, and Love the Rest

Hey, good-lookin’! Happy Thursday!

Can I recount a particularly mortifying experience with you? About four years ago, I went to a bachelorette party with some girlfriends. At some point in the evening, one of the partygoers—a particularly lovely, intelligent, and generous gal—decided that a fun “game” would be for each of us to systematically describe our least favorite body parts. Though she encouraged us to point out what we also like about ourselves, what ensued was nothing more than a complaint session in which each girl poured out a litany of body griefs. A series of gorgeous and smart women played along for what felt like an eternity, and few of them remembered to point out what they liked about themselves. It was almost as if they were all looking in a funhouse mirror, being horrified at what they saw. I kept thinking to myself, If THESE girls think of themselves as so hopelessly flawed, who KNOWS what they must think about me! The self-bashing was spreading like mold.

That night has stuck with me for a long time because not a single one of those women should have felt anything but pride in who they are, both inside and out. When a girl who weighs 120 lbs. sees nothing but her cellulite, that speaks volumes to me about our culture and how women are not allowed—much less encouraged—to love their bodies. It is with this in mind that I challenge you to spend the next few days joining me in dressing your best features, and loving the rest too.

I found out about “Dress Your Best Week” from the writers and fashionistas over at Academic Chic, where for the next few days they will be writing about their favorite body parts and how they like to dress them. As a fellow academic, I really appreciate these women’s opinions, goals, and insights into the body as a site of identity; and they have some pretty great practical advice about fashion as well. As part of “Dress Your Best Week,” they point out that though it’s no crime to be a little uncomfortable about parts of your body, by and large we tend to nitpick ourselves apart and forget to appreciate the parts of our bodies that are truly lovely. So with that spirit of maximize OVER minimize, let’s focus instead on the parts that aren’t so bad.

I’ll go first. Since I’m home alone for a few days and couldn’t get any decent full-body photos of myself besides this lame-o mirror shot,

I’ll break down my list, one body part at a time.

1. ) My hands.

My hands are getting a little more wrinkled, freckled, and spotted these days, but that doesn’t really bother me. I appreciate how my hands can hold a book; type a paper; write a letter; grade a student’s essay; and of course, open a bag of gummy bears. My fingers are slim but strong, so I decorate them with rings (Kate Spade) and nail polish (OPI’s “Suzi Sells Sushi By the Seashore”). I’ve always liked my hands, and I always will.

2.) My feet.

My feet take me everywhere, and they carry the weight of the rest of me. They get blistered and sore, but they sure do look cute in espadrilles from H&M. And if I’ve gained a few pounds during finals, my shoes will always still fit on my trusty, consistently-sized feet.

3) My hair.

This is a new haircut. And while it took me a few days to get over how I look a little bit like Pat Benatar, I think I’m finally getting used to it. In fact, I think I finally like it, so I’m wearing it down today.

4.) And finally . . . my butt.

OK, fine. My butt and I weren’t always on good terms. But now that I’m in my late twenties, I think we’ve grown fond of each other. I especially like the way Calvin Klein jeans fit me, because they tend to accentuate the feminine curve that I’ve grown so used to. If I were suddenly a stick figure, I think I’d miss this caboose.

This entry may seem like nothing more than a bit of braggadocio, but I truly believe that there’s no other way to combat the poison of self-loathing. It’s time for women to learn that their bodies are powerful, beautiful, and wonderfully made. Now it’s your turn—which parts of YOUR body do you love the most, and how do you dress them?



*If you want to participate in Dress Your Best week on your own blog, head on over to academichic.com to let them know you’re taking part in the body celebration!


13 responses to “Dress Your Best, and Love the Rest

  1. You just took a picture of your own butt.
    And this is why we’re friends.
    GREAT post. GREAT idea.
    Love that Kate Spade ring.
    And it truly got me to thinking, as I’m getting ready to spend 2 weeks with a bunch of teens in shorts and tanks who have gravity and time still on their side. Gonna try to focus on the positive. Like my ear lobe. Or my left elbow.

    • It was awkward taking a photo of my own butt, but it was maybe less awkward than asking my roommate to do it. 😛 When are you headed out on your trip, yo? I think we keep missing each other.

  2. Thanks for reminding us to look at the bright side of our beautiful bodies. Though my boobs and I have a love-hate relationship, they are my favorite. Lopsided and sagging though they may be, they remind me that I am a lady, even when I’m doing man-things like working on my car. There’s nothing me and these knockers can’t handle.

    • Sheena, I LOVE your lopsided boobs! You and your boobs can tackle anything. And you know what? I, too, have one boob that is bigger than the other, and it’s fine with me.

  3. Jocelyn: I’m so glad I caught this post. How lovely! This hits me at a good time too, as I’ve been pretty mad at my tummy for the last few months. I don’t know, though, something hit me a few weeks ago when I was poking at it and lamenting its dough-like properties: this tummy has done some good work for me lately. As a home for 19 pounds of baby in the last four years (that’s divided by two babies, by the way), I really shouldn’t give it such a hard time. So, in the name of fairness, I bought a cute little bikini from Aeropostale. Okay, so I’m not sporting it at the public pool or anything, but I am wearing it at home. And feeling just fine 🙂

    Thanks for the link to Academic Chic too. Fun site!

    • Nikki—thanks for stopping by! This may sound weird (seeing as I don’t have any babies), but I’m weirdly attached to my flabby middle. Sometimes I wake up in the morning hugging it. I love that you are able to look at your middle not merely for how it looks, but also as a location for some really, really good things. Keep sporting that bikini!

      Also, the writers over at academichic know a lot about baby bellies, too, seeing as two of them are pregnant right now. 🙂

  4. You’re so purrrty!! ❤ And your hair is HIP. What a great thing to do, esp since we're encouraged to be dissatisfied all day long. I like my hairs, too, in the sunshine, my guitar hands when playing, what's left of my sudamericano birthmark in its original form, and my collar bone in a scoop-neck top. Yay for workin what our mamas gave us!

  5. I love you! I love that I look like you!
    We definitely have a relationship with our bodies. If we only focus on what we’re lacking in the relationship, we totally miss what we gain from it. And, what is gained always outweighs what is lacking.

  6. HI! You are so beautiful! I also think you have lovely hands (and a rockin’ arse). Kudos to you for this bloggy blog. Atticus likes his tail and his smooshed nose. Mowmow likes her whiskers. I like my jugs and my SKIN.

    I love YOU!

  7. I like my hands and my neck. While the rest of me is short and petite, I think my fingers are long and elegant and they make music among other things; my neck, too, is unusually long for my proportions, but it makes me feel pretty because it, so far, has been the only thing on my body that continues to be slender.
    I like wearing the beautiful rings on my hands that my hubby got me because they are sparkly, colorful, and unusual.

  8. Pingback: » Dress Your Best Roundup academichic

  9. Thanks friend. I needed this. As I get older it gets harder to love all of me. Especially my large stomach. Really appreciate your blog. I think this is one of your best ones yet.

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